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PRESS RELEASES AND NEWS

28.11.2017

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at the Russian International Affairs Council’s general meeting, Moscow, November 28, 2017

Mr Ivanov, colleagues, friends,

I’m pleased to participate in the Russian International Affairs Council’s general meeting devoted to its performance in 2017. Although the year is not out yet, it is already clear that it was, to put it mildly, by far not the easiest.

Conflicts continue to increase. Constructive interstate cooperation is on the decline, unfortunately. Unipolarity throwbacks raise concerns as one centre of international influence wants to act like a hegemon resorting to fast-track decisions, military blackmail, and brute force in order to promote its goals.

The situation surrounding the Korean Peninsula remains complex. Turbulence in the Middle East persists. Even though a major blow has been dealt to the terrorists who holed up there, we have so far failed to transform the mixed but generally useful experience gained by various stakeholders in forming a global anti-terrorist coalition under the auspices of the UN, the idea of which, as you are well aware, was advanced by President Putin about two years ago.

Given these circumstances, major crises continue to plague Libya, Iraq, and Yemen. Major agreements, which we consider an example of constructive multilateral cooperation, are in jeopardy. I’m referring, in particular, to the Iranian nuclear programme issue. Growing tension in the Persian Gulf not only in relation to Iran, but between the Arab monarchies as well, are of concern to us. The internal political crisis in neighbouring Ukraine has not been settled because of the Kiev authorities’ absolute unwillingness to comply with the Minsk Agreements in the part that concerns them, and the aspirations of Kiev’s Western curators to encourage such a position.

On the plus side, I would like to note the results of the meeting of the presidents of Russia, Turkey and Iran in Sochi which took place on November 22, the resumed Geneva talks between the Syrian Government and the opposition groups, and preparations for the Syrian National Dialogue Congress. All of this seeks to promote the political process in Syria in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 2254. Russia's strategic interaction with a number of large states, including within BRICS and the SCO, continues to expand. The unification processes and projects in Eurasia actively continue, and major work is being done to harmonise the integration projects.

Overall, we are now going through a stage of mixed trends, which will continue. The world has entered a period of transformation. As one of the geopolitical centres and one the most active international players, Russia actively participates in forming a new, more just and democratic polycentric world order, the formation of which is a fact and a reality. This is a process, which, of course, will last for a long time.

Unfortunately, we are witnessing relentless attempts to reverse this process, which, we believe, are one of the main reasons for today's tensions in international relations.

Given these circumstances, clear understanding of the prospects for global development, and comprehensive understanding of the key trends in international affairs has taken on special significance. RIAC’s contribution to addressing these important tasks is significant, and its activities in 2017 deserve high praise. Much has been done in many different areas.

This is confirmed by objective measures, such as the number of publications and events. I will not list them all. The Council is confidently implementing its primary mission which is to promote Russia’s foreign policy interests.

In this regard, I will note the ever growing role of the Council as a provider of expert support for Russian diplomacy. The traditional international conference on Russia-China relations held in May is a case in point. It is gratifying to know that this successful undertaking has spread to include Russia-India cooperation. I’m referring to the conference, Russia and India:  Strategic Vision of Bilateral Relations and the Changing World Order, which was held in October. I believe it’s important for this conference, just like the events on the Chinese matters, to become traditional for the Council.

I consider it important to continue to expand both the coverage of important international stories as well as the number of foreign partners. Given the current complicated situation, the role of interaction via experts and international affairs pundits in supporting the bilateral dialogue, and keeping our partners updated about our assessments, is growing. Joint research, which is another RIAC’s important area of focus, also contributes to this mission.

It is comforting to know that education remains one of the Council’s key functions, which is implemented in various forms, including summer schools, webinars, lectures, and breakfasts with experts. The updated version of the Council's website launched in May has already become one of the most popular Russian media platforms offering high-quality analytical material on important international topics. Notably, we have attained the level of leading Western websites in this area.

The Ministry values its interaction with the Council. We are proud of the fact that this year Sergey Kislyak, who is present here, became one of its members, and Alexander Kramarenko became its programme director for development.

In general, I believe that the Council, which was established in 2011, has gained a strong form in the second five-year period of its activities. Dynamic and profound changes that the modern world is experiencing, the tasks that all of us who are involved in international relations and Russia’s foreign policy are faced with are becoming more complicated.

I’m confident that the Council will continue to successfully maintain its reputation as the leading domestic think tank providing expert and analytical support for the needs of Russia’s foreign policy.




LATEST EVENTS

23.02.2018 - Four years since the coup in Kiev: Embassy Press Officer on the article by Boris Johnson on Crimea

Yesterday, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson published an article entitled “Four years since the illegal annexation of Crimea”. It is a pity that it is not accompanied by a piece on the fourth anniversary of the coup d’état in Kiev that was backed by the UK and the West in general, and blatantly violated not only Ukraine’s Constitution, but also the agreement between President Yanukovych and the opposition mediated by Germany, France and Poland on 21 February 2014. It was precisely the forcible removal of the lawfully elected President that paved the way to power to the self-styled “government of winners”, a bizarre mix of pro-European liberals and far-right extremists, and triggered the sequence of events that resulted in Crimea re-joining Russia.


23.02.2018 - Embassy’s comment on the situation in Eastern Ghouta

Several thousand fighters are remaining in Eastern Ghouta, including those associated with terrorist organizations, primarily Jabhat al-Nusra. They are shooting at Damascus, and the intensity of those attacks is increasing every day. The population in Eastern Ghouta has been held as hostages, they are not allowed to leave the territory controlled by the terrorists. Military installations are disguised as medical facilities.


22.02.2018 - Agricultural Attache Derbenskiy took part in the Conference of the National Farmers’ Union (NFU)

On 20-21 February Vladimir Derbenskiy, Agricultural Attache of the Russian Embassy, took part in the annual NFU Conference in Birmingham on the invitation of the Union.


22.02.2018 - Embassy’s Press Officer on the situation in Eastern Ghouta

Q: Could you comment on the statement regarding the humanitarian situation in Eastern Ghouta made by Prime Minister Theresa May in the House of Commons on 21 February? A: The best way to improve the humanitarian situation in Eastern Ghouta is for Jabhat al-Nusra fighters to withdraw. Instead, this terrorist group that controls the area constantly attacks residential areas and diplomatic facilities in Damascus, keeps civilians as hostages and uses them as a human shield. Information on civilian casualties mostly comes from Nusra-affiliated structures, which cannot be seen as impartial. Several medical evacuations have been arranged but met with refusal by the terrorists, who are preventing any attempts to negotiate a larger-scale civilian evacuation.


21.02.2018 - MFA comment on the accusations by UK against Russia of staging massive cyber attacks against Ukraine’s cyber infrastructure

A new era of information warfare against Russia is upon us. It is now alleged that Russia had something to do with the June 2017 cyber attack against Ukraine. The UK Foreign Office and Ministry of Defence have now joined the Western media in spreading these accusations. This time, however, instead of laying the blame on the anonymous and now legendary “Russian hackers,” they went as far as to accuse the Russian government. In keeping with the tradition adopted by the West in general, London failed to provide any specific facts, preferring to make groundless and exasperating statements and allusions and pretending that everything is clear even without coming up with any evidence.


20.02.2018 - DRAFT UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION ON COOPERATION IN COMBATING INFORMATION CRIMES



15.02.2018 - Embassy Comments on statement of Foreign Office Minister Lord Ahmad

The statement of Foreign Office Minister Lord Ahmad regarding Russia’s alleged responsibility for the NotPetya cyber-attack is, like many other similar accusations, not backed by any evidence. It is another example of irresponsible and hostile rhetoric of British officials towards Russia. The Embassy considers it as a part of the continuing campaign aimed at the stigmatisation of our country, that we have witnessed in the UK over the recent months.


15.02.2018 - The latest anti-Russian campaign in Western media (MFA comment)

We have noted a number of articles published by Western media in the latest campaign to denigrate Russia’s role in fighting terrorism in Syria. Here are just a few of the many examples: “Syria’s Idlib province pounded by Russian airstrikes, activists say” (The Washington Post, February 5); “Russia bombs Syria rebel strongholds after jet is shot down” (Newsweek, February 5); “Biggest airstrikes in a year hit Syria after rebels shoot down Russian jet” (The Guardian, February 6); “Devastating Russian airstrikes of retribution in Syria” (Deutsche Welle, February 5); “Russia launches an offensive after the jet is downed” (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, February 5). These articles are obviously carbon-copies – their style and reasoning are strikingly similar. The misinformation comes down to allegations that the Russian Aerospace Forces are striking rebel strongholds in Idlib, killing civilians and damaging civilian infrastructure, including medical institutions. The Syrian Army is being groundlessly accused of using chemical weapons.


14.02.2018 - Embassy’s Press Officer on the chemical incidents in Syria

Q: Could you comment on the recent statements by a number of Western politicians and media claiming that Moscow and Damascus were responsible for the chemical weapons attacks in the course of the Syrian conflict? A: Russia is against any use of chemical weapons and is a strong supporter of chemical disarmament. In Syria we are in favour of conducting professional on-site investigations of all chemical incidents, something that has never been performed. Instead, the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) relied on “evidence” provided by the self-styled activists and rescue organisations such as the White Helmets which are in fact colluding with al-Nusra and other terrorist groups.


12.02.2018 - Ushakov Medal presented to the Arctic Convoys Veterans

On 9-11 February 2018 Third Secretary of the Embassy Vadim Retyunskiy presented the Ushakov medals to the Arctic Convoys veterans Mr David SIMPSON and Mr George MOON



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